Yes they are data mining. Not sure what they are hoping to get, but it must be valuable.
Climate Fieldview looks pretty impressive in that it can not only be a record-keeping system, but it can also be used to generate prescriptions, and analyze your data such as yield maps vs soil tests and elevations. It's also one of the lowest cost systems that I've seen. Which makes me wonder just what they are doing with all this farmer data. Clearly it's valuable enough to them to offer Climate Fieldview at a cost that undercuts most of the competitors. If it's that valuable I think they should be paying farmers to use Climate Fieldview. Apparently they do allow you to download all your data and when you stop paying for it, they will remove your data from their "cloud."
It's only a matter of time before regulations require us to adopt some kind of electronic record-keeping system, probably with automatic data acquisition and reporting for food safety purposes. Already potato growers in my area are required to provide their application records in electronic form for food safety purposes, and I think the processors require it in the form of FCC Field Manager Pro reports (awkward software).
For us we've outgrown the old notebook system of record keeping. Crop insurance wants to know more details about our farming practices, seeding dates, herbicide and fertilizer applications. And we need to be able to access the records from any of our phones. Right now we're using Farm At Hand, which is cheap and simple, but fairly clumsy still.
We might look into Climate next year. That dongle looks kind of neat, and maybe is hackable for my own purposes. I'm also interested to see if they can do a lot of what Agleader SMS can do, but without having to install any software.